This from the SFUSD Student Nutrition & Physical Activity Committee:
As students head back to school, there is good news on the school lunch front. All lunches served in the SFUSD now meet the Gold Standard of the USDA's Healthier US Schools Challenge. Meals will include more dark green and orange vegetables, such as spinach, sweet potatoes, collards, and broccoli, and more legumes. Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and whole grain breads will continue. Even the breadcrumbs on the ever-popular chicken nuggets will be whole grain - and the chicken is made from whole pieces of breast meat, not "chopped and formed" dark meat, and baked, not fried. More varieties of fresh fruit will be available as well as a few more choices of cut up fruit (in its own juice, never syrup.) More salad bars will open at the few middle and high schools which don't already have one. The middle and high school salad bars will have added choices, including corn and beans daily. Schools without salad bars will see installation of a dome covered server for fresh leafy greens right in the lunch line, and a wider variety of fresh raw vegetables changing daily. Beginning in October, all schools will offer new entrée choices featuring more whole grains, legumes, and dark green/orange vegetables.
At the middle and high schools, the old system, which provided cafeteria service of government-reimbursed meals in one line and other a la carte selections available for purchase in a different line, has been eliminated. The new system offers more choices, all of which are available to all students, including low-income students who receive free lunch. All items are now sold as complete meals, which under federal requirements means they are all now available to students who qualify for free lunch. Students may select traditional cafeteria options with a salad bar, or choose from options like freshly made sandwiches, rice bowls, pizza or bagel with sun butter. All entree items will include vegetables, fruit, and milk for $3, or free to low-income students.
Of course, all of this better food comes at a cost. Studies show that healthier food costs more than junk food, and that the price difference is increasing
In addition, new federal regulations are expected to require that paid meals not be priced below the amount the government provides as reimbursement for a free meal. As a result, the price for paid lunch will now be $3 at all levels; breakfast price will remain at $1.50 and adult meals also will not increase ($2. for breakfast and $3.50 for lunch.)
SFUSD families may now prepay for students' cafeteria meals – by the month, by the week or on their own schedule. The new MealpayPlus program allows families to register at www.mealpayplus.com and conveniently prepay by credit card, debit card or electronic check online or by phone. MealpayPlus speeds up service in the cafeteria and eliminates the need for kids to carry lunch money to school. Families may also pay by check or cash at school, or may choose to send checks by mail. MealpayPlus also allows families, including those who qualify for free meals, to view their students' history of cafeteria purchases. You will need your student's ID number or H0 number, which is found on report cards and other school materials, or may be obtained from your school office.